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‘Anti-Pakistan’ sentiment in India, a cause for concern: PHF

Friday, February 19, 2010 08:22:21 PM, ANI

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Karachi: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) is awaiting the outcome of a security briefing in New Delhi on Friday before sending its team to the other side of the border for the World Cup to be held from February 28 to March 13.


“We want to be sure that our players will get the best possible security,” Asif Bajwa, the PHF secretary, told ‘The News’ on Thursday.


“We will assess the security cover being offered to our team by the event’s organisers and if there are no loop-holes we will be happy to send our team to New Delhi because for us the World Cup is an all-important tournament,” he stressed.


Pakistan is one of the several countries that have raised security concerns ahead of the World Cup.


New Zealand has delayed their arrival in New Delhi while teams like Australia and England are also seeking assurances from the Indian government.


Things have taken a turn for the worse in the wake of a specific threat against the World Cup and other sporting events in India from top guerrilla commander Ilyas Kashmiri, whose 313 Brigade is an operational arm of Al-Qaeda.


In an email message, he warned the international community not to send their athletes to the World Cup, the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the Commonwealth Games, to be held in the Indian capital this year.


However, Bajwa said that this latest threat is the least of PHF’s worries.


“We are not really concerned by such threats,” he said.


He said the PHF is worried about the anti-Pakistan mood that has been prevailing in India since the terrorist attack in Mumbai in November 2008.


“We are really concerned about the safety of our players because of the anti-Pakistan sentiment in India,” he said.


“We want to be sure that they would not be exposed to any threat at the team hotel, on the road or in the stadium. We want to be sure that they would not be in the range of any spectator who might want to harm our players. These are the assurances we are seeking and we hope that the organisers will come up with solid assurances,” he added.


Bajwa is awaiting the return of a two-member PHF team comprising Rana Mujahid and Shahid Parvez Bhandara to return from New Delhi on Saturday.


“The feedback we get from them is going to be important,” said Bajwa, who will be a part of the Pakistan squad which is scheduled to leave for New Delhi on February 22. (ANI)







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